Physicians Group Lauds Indiana’s Medical Liability Environment
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has just released its report card of emergency medicine for 2014, grading each state and the nation as a whole for how well it performs in the areas of Access to Emergency Care, Quality & Patient Safety Environment, Medical Liability Environment, Public Health & Injury Prevention, and Disaster Preparedness. ACEP is a harsh grader, giving the nation as a whole an overall grade of D+. Indiana also scored a D+ overall with D’s in several categories and even an F in Disaster Preparedness. The state’s highest grade was a C in Medical Liability Environment, scoring above average, with the country as a whole getting a C- in this category. But of all categories to score higher than average in, is our Medical Liability Environment the one we would hope for?
As a lobbying organization of doctors, what ACEP thinks deserves a good grade in Medical Liability is not necessarily what you or I would think deserves positive recognition. What factors contributed to Indiana’s high score in this category? According to the report, Indiana “now boasts the second lowest average malpractice award payment in the nation ($122,334). The state has implemented many important reforms that contribute to this low rate, including apology inadmissibility laws, mandatory pretrial screening panels, rules that require malpractice awards to be offset by collateral sources, and a medical liability cap on total damages.” The report also notes that Indiana medical providers “enjoy lower-than-average medical liability insurance premiums for primary care physicians ($10,154) and specialists ($49,113).”
While Indiana doctors may be faring better than their counterparts in other states when it comes to liability for committing medical malpractice, the victims of their medical negligence and surgical errors are not. Indiana’s medical liability environment may get a passing grade from doctors, but it is failing its patients.